Hot Take: Mallex Smith Has Been Demoted To Triple-A, But Does That Make Him A Must Drop?

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Many had high hopes for Mallex Smith, with the trade to Seattle and speed down around the game.  Unfortunately he had gotten off to a miserable start, hitting .165 with 1 HR and 8 SB over 110 PA, and now finds himself sent to Triple-A to try and figure out the issues.

Obviously a lot has gone wrong, but that doesn’t mean a short stint out of the spotlight can’t correct the issues.  In fact, the underlying numbers support a return to production:

BABIP – .234
He’s not hitting the ball hard (23.1% Hard%), but he never has (24.1% for his career).  The key here is that he’s using the entire field (40.0% Oppo%) and hitting the ball on the ground (57.8%).  Considering his speed the BABIP should improve, and potentially significantly.

Strikeout Rate – 30.0%
His SwStr% is up, but it’s actually not a significant regression (13.4% compared to a career mark of 12.2%).  At the same time he isn’t straying from the strike zone very much (22.3% O-Swing%), and he’s also seeing more fastballs than ever before (61.7%).  So why a near 10% regression in his strikeout rate (20.9% for his career)?  Like the BABIP, it’s a number that should improve organically.

He’s never going to be a source of power or RBI, but he’s not a .165 hitter either.  Even if you didn’t believe in last year’s .296, does a .260ish mark seem like a stretch?  With a career 8.8% walk rate that should mean ample opportunities to utilize his speed and steal some bases.

The demotion to Triple-A is disappointing, but there’s a good chance that the issues are corrected quickly and he returns and makes an impact.  That means outside of the shallowest of leagues, stashing him on your bench makes a lot of sense due to the shortage of speed.

Source – Fangraphs

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Rotoprofessor. This is exactly the question I wanted to ask and you wrote about it! How soon do you anticipate Mallex being called back up again?

    • My guess is he’ll be down for 2-3 weeks. Unless there’s an injury it’s got to be at least 10 days anyways

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